Statehouse Bureau
1:17 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Lawmakers Weigh In On Olympic Wrestling

Illinois lawmakers are "weighing in" on Olympic organizers' decision to drop wrestling from the summer games. 

The Illinois House passed a resolution encouraging the International Olympic Committee to reinstate wrestling as an Olympic sport.   The state Senate is poised to do the same.

Former U-S House Speaker Denny Hastert made a special appearance in Springfield for it.  Hastert was a wrestling coach in Yorkville before he went on to Congress.  He says it's important to give young people the opportunity to reach for an Olympic dream. 

HASTERT: "And for a, I think a wrongheaded decision made by the International Olympic Committee, which is all internal politics of people who didn't have constituencies  -- they happen to be princes, and sisters of kings and sheiks and those types of people --  but we need to send them a message."

He says the sport showed him he could do much more than he could have ever dreamed. 

HASTERT: "You know wrestling is one place where countries like Iran and Russia, and United States and Turkey and Mongolia, and Korea, and all the Stans  and the former Soviet union - parts of the former Soviet Union that are now individual countries - they all have earned medals in this sport."

Pat Quinn is among 32 governors who have signed a letter protesting the Olympic committee's decision.

The House sponsor of the resolution says there are 17-thousand student wrestlers in Illinois, and it's a sport at 18 Illinois universities.